Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Archive for September, 2011

Oh, Happy Day!

See this…

This big ball of fire makes this Mountain Girl veeeeerrrrrrrrryyy happy!

Nothing like a little dose of sunshine in the bright Carolina blue sky to brighten up even the darkest of days.

 

It just doesn’t get much better than this, y’all!

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Am I Getting Dumber With Age?

Do you believe that as we age, we lose a certain amount of knowledge with every passing day, month, year, decade, etc.?  I’ve read several articles eluding to just that and here lately, I’m beginning to wonder if there’s some truth to these findings.  I haven’t quite figured out what’s going on just yet, but some days I feel as though I’m actually getting dumber.

I’ll be having a conversation and I can see the word I want to use for just a split second and then, poof, it’s gone and I have to pause for a moment to try and recover it from somewhere deep in the recesses of my somewhat rather large head.  You’d think that having a head as big as mine is, there’d be plenty of room in there to adequately store all these words in some sort of organized way so they may be retrieved when needed.  No such luck for this gal.

Honestly though, there are times when I seriously debate whether or not I’m actually losing brain cells, or just misplacing them, as the years keep passing by.  I mean, I always thought that you’re supposed to get smarter with age, wiser.  I’ve really been wracking my brain about this over the last few weeks because my condition just seems to be getting worse with every passing day.

I’ve joked around for years now that Aricept is in my future.  For those of you that don’t know, Aricept is a drug that helps to slow the development of Alzheimer’s.  While I don’t believe I have early onset Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia, I just know there’s gotta be a reason for all this forgetfulness!

I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with Post It notes pretty much my entire adult life just to keep me on track and remind me of the little things that I just can’t seem to keep straight.  You know: what to grab before I leave the house in the morning, where I placed an item that I’ll be needing later in the day, what I need to do for someone before I go to bed, etc.  That’s not so bad, right?

Oh, and one of the best examples of my ability to possibly be the world’s most scatter brained, yet educated woman occurred shortly after I started college.  This story will undoubtedly be told long after I’m dead and gone.  And please bear in mind that during this period in my life, I was a married, full time, adult college student, working two jobs, and raising two boys, one just starting kindergarten and the other in second grade.  Neither of my boys rode the bus at this point, either, so to say that mornings were hectic at my house would be a gross understatement.  Looking back, I have a feeling this might’ve led to my forgetfulness at the time.

Trying, in vain, I might add, to get all three of us up and ready for school, was at times, some of the most difficult days of all of my years being a Mother.  It never failed, my youngest son was an early riser, so he was always up, ready and raring to go at the crack of dawn.  And he was always so happy.  He’d greet me every morning with a smile and a big hug and kiss.  I sure do miss those good morning kisses.  While my other son could have slept through a nuclear attack outside his bedroom window without ever even rolling over.  And he was the devil incarnate!  Talk about someone who’s not a morning person!  Wow.  Looking back, it’s a miracle we ever made it through any of those early school mornings.

Anyway, my morning had to start with coffee before I was able to function.  Until the caffeine hits the synapses, I’m completely useless as a human being.  So, I get about three sips of my coffee, while getting the kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed, getting myself fed, dressed, folding clothes that were in the dryer, re-loading the dryer, starting another load of laundry, putting dishes away, taking out the garbage, studying again for another yet another anatomy test, making beds, returning an important phone call, cleaning up spilled milk, assisting with tying shoes, packing lunches, making sure stray toys hadn’t found their way into back packs or jackets.  You know, just the usual morning stuff that every Mama has to go through.  Wait.  What?  You mean all Mama’s don’t do this every morning?  Seriously?  Hmmmm.

Somewhere in the midst of all the insanity and chaos that was taking place all around me, it occurred to me that I had only had just enough caffeine to tickle and tease my senses.  I could still smell the coffee lingering in the air, but for the life of me, I could not locate my cup!  I searched everywhere!  I’ll bet I made fifty trips up and down the steps in our apartment looking in every room, on every counter, dresser, and nightstand.  I knew I’d actually had a cup of coffee that morning.  I could still taste the last sip I’d taken.

I tried to retrace my steps to locate my missing java, but it was GONE!  Completely vanished into thin air.  I started asking the kids if they’d hid it from me as a joke, I was asking myself if I’d hid it from me as a joke.  This was getting serious.  I literally thought I was losing my mind that morning.

Just when I was ready to just wave the white flag of defeat and crawl back under the covers, I happened to glance over at the microwave.  And wouldn’t ya know it.  There sat my coffee mug inside the microwave where I had put it earlier to warm it back up.  I had to just laugh.  I laughed until I was crying because I felt like I might just truly be losing my mind.  My kids laughed with me, (not at me, of course), and then we headed off to school and work.

I’ve never actually lost my coffee again since then, but I have brewed countless pots of hot water and even recently made a big ol piping hot pot of nothing.  I remembered the coffee, but forgot the water.

I’ve always said that it’s a good thing I’m cute, ’cause God knows there’s gotta be a trade off for Mountain Man to keep me around.  For while I consider myself to be very intelligent and well read, these days my conversational skills just aren’t up to par.  I’m blaming multitasking and stressful parenting for all my forgetfulness.

I’m hoping that this too shall pass.

If not, let’s hope I stay cute for a long, long time!

Three Things

Three splendidly wonderful things happened up here at the cabin over the weekend.

 

1) I had to build the first fire of the season because it got so blasted chilly.

2) I replaced our lovely, soft cool summer sheets with thick, fluffy flannel ones to knock the chill off and keep us warm at night.

3) Mountain Man killed the very first deer of the season early Saturday morning.

 

These may not seem very important to some of you, but for me, they signify that while according to the calendar, fall officially doesn’t begin until next weekend, it has indeed come early for us here on our side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Letting Go

After all the drama and teeth gnashing that’s been going on around here for the past few weeks dealing with teenage angst, you’d think that God, the Universe, Mother Earth, Zeus, and Karma woulda got together and decided that I just really didn’t need anything else to go wrong.  Evidently this, as they say, was wishful thinking.

Last night I had to part with something that I’ve had for a very long time.  Something that’s very dear to me and has always brought me comfort over the years.  Something that I’ve kept for far too long simply because I just couldn’t bear the thought of letting go.

After having what can only be described as a “slap in the face” kinda morning, the afternoon went rather smoothly once my son got home from school.  He managed to make it through the day without getting into any trouble there and once he was home, he did what was required of him to fulfill part of his punishment for his actions over the past few weeks without complaining or being a mouthy little pain in the you know what.  I didn’t have to argue with him and I actually got to carry on a pleasant little conversation with him.  Things were going pretty well.

Just when you think things are looking up, that’s usually when the rug gets snatched right out from under you.

I went to put on my very favorite pair of pj pants and the realization hit me like a ton of bricks.  I couldn’t wear these anymore.  Not because they were too little or too big.  They’ve been waaaaaay too big for a looooooong time now.  Mountain Man and I both could probably have fit into these things!  No, standing there, looking at my wonderfully beloved pj pants, I realized that they were literally falling apart.  Ok.  Ok.  So, I didn’t just realize this last night.  I’ve known for a long time that they were falling apart.  What can I say?  Sometimes, ignorance in bliss.

They’ve had a tear in the bottom of the right leg for over two years now where they got caught on the side of a box that was sitting in the middle of Mountain Man’s living room, (which has since become my living room, too).  But the top of them had started to fray about a year ago where the little blue ribbon that ties in the front is stitched around the waist.  Three or four months ago, that insignificant fraying started morphing into a hole in one spot and it’s just kept getting bigger and bigger.

I’ve known this day was coming for quite some time now.  I just really wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon.  Last night, I really needed  those pj pants.  They’re comfy and cozy and they always somehow manage to make me feel better when I’m wearing them.  If only I could’ve just worn them one last time last night.  Just one more evening spent basking in their comfort and security.  Was that too much to ask?

Evidently, yes.  After I got them on, I noticed that the once quarter sized hole had somehow morphed into a softball sized hole and upon further inspection, there were more little holes and tears in the fabric all around the pretty blue ribbon.  The cloth was so thin in places, I could hear it tearing as I was attempting in vain to tie that blue ribbon and wear them just one more time.

At last, I finally conceded and just took them off.  As I stood there looking at my poor, pitiful pj pants that had gotten me through so many different days and nights, I realized that there was no saving them.  I’m not usually one to throw out clothes if they still fit, (which remember, these particular pj pants didn’t,) or if I can fix them myself with a simple stitch.  These poor things were so far beyond fixing and it just floored me that I had held onto them for as long as I have, trying desperately to put off the inevitable for as long as I could.

After a moment of silence for my pj pants, I found it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d thought it was gonna be to just ball them up and toss them in the trash can.  I mean, yeah, it stunk having to say goodbye to one of my favorite articles of clothing, but it was almost freeing, too.  Cathartic in a strange sort of way.

I’m sure that I’ll find comfort in another pair of pj pants someday.  I just hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

If Only…

Do you ever think about which tv family you wanted to belong to when you were growing up?  For that matter, did you ever want to belong to a tv family when you were growing up?  Or am I the only one?  With all the scandalous reality shows out there nowadays and the other, somewhat questionable “family” programming, it makes me yearn for days gone by when almost any problem that could ever possibly arise could be solved in under thirty minutes.  Maybe an hour for the really big problems that required two episodes.

I’ve always, for as long as I can remember, wanted to be a Cosby kid!  They were, and still remain to be, my favorite tv family.  No matter what was going on, they always seemed to have fun in that house.  Even when one of the kids did something really bad, there was a calm and rationale conversation, the punishments were doled out, and then all was right with their little world once again.

How wonderful would it be if you could just sit your children down, have a frank, firm, but still funny conversation with them about whatever it is they’re doing wrong at the time, and then, get this, they’d actually listen to what you had to say, correct the problem, and everyone would go back to living a normal, civilized, fun, happy little life?  I know, I know.  Reality doesn’t quite work that fluidly.  It’s a shame, though.  Don’t you think?

This happens to be one of my very favorite scenes from the show and it reminds me of the things I’m dealing with right now with my son.  The ever constant “comeback” for every little thing I tell him or try to explain to him.  The trying in vain to slack off.  The “I know more than you know” attitude.  It’s all in there.  Only Cliff and Theo have a much calmer and very humorous conversation along with an important lesson thrown in there.  At my house, it doesn’t ever seem to be this easy.

Back to reality…

I know I, for one, could really use a good day right about now here in the land of what I have lovingly dubbed Teenage Hell.  It would make my heart sing just to be able to talk to this boy of mine and actually get through to him.  And believe me, I’m under no grand illusions that everyday is gonna be perfect and there’s never gonna be any drama or trouble.  He’s a teenage boy, for God’s sake!  I know I’m dealing with what some may refer to as a ticking time bomb.  But, come on!  Every day doesn’t have to end with me feeling like I’ve been bashing my head against a brick wall, does it?

My friends and family that have already went through Teenage Hell keep assuring me that yes, things will eventually get better… but it may take a few years for things to calm down.  They keep telling me that this is normal and that these are gonna be the hardest years of parenting, but that in the end, if I stay the course, it’ll all be worth it and he’ll be just fine.  Most of these people who keep telling me these things have raised some pretty outstanding young men, so I guess I should take comfort in their words and trust that in the end, it’ll be alright.

In my heart of hearts, I know that we’ll all make it through this and I’m even fairly certain that we’ll all come out alive on the other end.  But, I think sometimes I’d just rather live in my fantasy tv family land where everything is hashed out, lessons are learned, happiness abounds, and love prevails, all in 30 minutes or less.  If only…

The Sound of Silence

Fall is imminent up here at the cabin.  The days are getting shorter, the air is crisp and cool instead of sticky and hot, and the bugs have fell silent.  The God-awful dreaded bugs of summer.  They’re dwindling away and the nights have become silent again.  Walking outside a month ago was, at times, a shock to the ears with all the katydids singing their majestic songs of summer.  I happen to love that sound, while some others in my house loathe it.  Hearing those little green bugs makes me happy and lulls me to sleep in the summer.   It’s one of my favorite things about the hot months of the year.

But, alas, I’ve noticed for the past few evenings that the katydids have quieted down.  There are no more glorious songs coming from the trees around the cabin.  There’s still the occasional cricket and maybe a frog or two off in the distance, but for the most part, it’s become very silent up here on the mountain.

Don’t get me wrong.  Silence is good, too.  Silence means that pretty soon the leaves will begin their metamorphosis into a brilliantly, magnificent, colorful work of art that surrounds and envelopes the cabin on all four sides.  The heavens will keep getting clearer and clearer with every passing day.  They’ll be filled with those wonderfully white clouds that pop against the background of the vivid blue sky.  The flowers of fall will be glorious in their rich colors.  Afternoons will be spent gathering the last of the summer’s bounty from the garden in preparation for the long winter ahead.  And it’ll be time, once again, for comfy, cozy, warm jammies and socks, curled up with blankets and loved ones in front of the fireplace.

Yes, the sound of silence is a good thing.

It’s a Jungle Out There!

I spent the better part of yesterday out in the garden tackling this little project.

Now that I’m sitting here looking at this picture, I’m thinking little is probably an understatement.  These were our tomato plants in the garden.  They were literally taller than me.  And we’ve only put Miracle Grow on ’em twice throughout this entire growing season!  Some of these were started from seeds here in the cabin back when the snow and cold was still swirling about outside, and others were bought in what I remember to be fairly tiny little pots and then lovingly transplanted in our garden.

I’m not real sure what happened here, but I know this ain’t right.  Somewhere along our journey into this whole gardening thing, we stopped growing tomato plants and started what appears to be a small jungle up here in the Western NC mountains!  Three or four small children could easily hide in this one row of plants and we’d never, ever see them.

Now I definitely don’t know a lot about gardening, but I knew these things weren’t supposed to look like this.  So, for the past few weeks, Mountain Man and I have been attempting to control the jungle that’s growing beside the cabin and we’ve tried to move some branches, limbs, arms, vines, (I have no idea what the correct terminology is regarding the various parts of a tomato plant,) so that some sunlight could find its way inside to the vast amount of green tomatoes that are hanging inside each of these plants.

Well yesterday, out of a sheer fit of boredom and the need to do something productive that involved actual labor, I decided I was going to wage war on our tomato jungle.  With the help of some serious pruning shears, of course!  I fought with those branches, limbs, arms, vines, or whatever those things are called for four hours.  Some of those dang things were eight and ten feet long!  They started at one plant and had wrapped themselves halfway down the row to the plants all the way on the other end!  I trimmed and cut and rearranged and trimmed some more until they finally took shape and began to look like tomato plants again.  I was merciless.  I cut off every single thing that didn’t have a tomato growing on it and even the ones I left, I stripped most of the leaves off of them so that the fruit I’d uncovered could get plenty of sunshine to ripen up.

So, what once looked like this:

Now looks like this:

Poor things, they look just pitiful.  Almost naked without all those branches, limbs, arms, vines…. thingies shooting out every which way.

But I know this’ll be good for them in the long run.  I know that we’ll have lots and lots of fat, juicy, ripe, red, yellow, and striped tomatoes here in the coming weeks! I probably shoulda got out there with the pruning shears sooner!

I’ll remember that come next year.

 

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